6 reasons Singapore entrepreneurship is not for you

By Seth Lui


6 Reasons Entrepreneurship Is Not For You

Does entrepreneurship seem like an appealing prospect? Have you ever dreamt about being your own boss?

“Ah, if only I had my own business, I could work whenever I want to.” Sounds familiar?

My name is Seth Lui and I'm a Singapore Food entrepreneur. Although it seems glamorous and ritzy being an entrepreneur, there are huge misconceptions and naive notions to actually walking the road of entrepreneurship. I know it’s not a bed of roses because I've gone through the whole process of pitching, getting funds, getting investors and partners, opening and running a business then finally expanding. Here I’m going to share the major oversights and delusions people have towards entrepreneurship, and for you to seriously ponder these points before embarking on your shaky dream.

1. You think it's easy

A key factor why Singapore sees thousands of companies shut down as well as thousands more open up each year is because it seems easy enough to do. Yes, it's really easy to register a company, but to actually earn profit and earn enough to feed yourself is another monster altogether.

Everyone looks at the success stories that are publicised in the media with awe and admiration. But that's the duck's secret; successful people look prim and proper on the surface, but paddle like a madman hidden underwater.

2. Mistaking passion for skill

Yes, having passion is important because it keeps you on your goal. But passion alone is not enough without actual capability. You might say you have a lot of passion for food, but you've never actually cooked a proper meal. You like the IT industry but have never written a single HTML code before.

Passion doesn't create a $9.90 app for the iPhone. Programmers do.

You must not only be passionate about the subject, but be willing to attain the skills about the same subject. Passion is sometimes overly exaggerated in people as well, from their language and their behaviour. Superficially, there seems to be a lot of passion. You might see them constantly talking about business, go for seminars, join entrepreneur clubs. BUT when the opportunity finally comes down to taking that step forward, taking the risk and just doing it, they buckle from the load. True passion is to keep going no matter what.

3. Unable to take low pay

One big hurdle that people cannot get over to even step into entrepreneurship is being able to tolerate a low take-home pay. You've been getting $2000-$3000/month in your comfy office job, you have liabilities and bills to pay. Are you going to be able to take a pay of $200-$300/month instead, a 90% pay cut.

All in exchange for a uncertain better future.

Can you sacrifice what you have now, for what you can gain eventually?

4. Unable to sacrifice long and irregular hours

This is especially accurate for food entrepreneurs, because food never sleeps. Most restaurants have the best business during the weekends. Clubs and bars typically open till 3am. Are you willing to make sacrifices to your family and friends, to run your business? When your girlfriend or mother complains that you spend too much time at work for too little money, do you keep going or give in? There's only one correct answer here.

Getting a call in the middle of the day that some major mishap has happened is as common as Taylor Swift breaking up again. Things that require immediate attention no matter what you are doing will tend to pop up repeatedly in entrepreneurship.

I have seen so many people having grandeur dreams of running a business, be completely distraught when they themselves actually try running a business.

Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. 

5. Stress is not your friend

Living with stress is the number 1 fundamental skill of an entrepreneur and any business owner. Nothing affects you like the state of your own business, and no one other than the founders can understand this feeling. When things are bad, you’re going to lose sleep every night worrying about paying your overheads, your staff or even paying yourself.

This stress is amplified if you are working everyday IN your business itself, instead of ON your business. Being in the 12 hour day to day grind and then having to face poor daily sales is enough to make any person insane. Imagine coming home late after a full day of menial work, then having to spend another couple hours to plan and execute your marketing strategy, then doing the accounts. Then having to repeat everything the next day. It’s simply not possible to sustain this in the long run, as your mind and body will break down.

Yes, you’re going to have to do it in the beginning, so you have to be prepared to face stress the likes of which never seen before. Eventually things can be outsourced once you grow big. However, if you can’t deal with the heat, get out of the kitchen. This isn't for everybody.

6. Not having the guts

The way to become an entrepreneurs is simple. Just do it. Do something, anything but take action. Fear is the number one reason people don't realize their dreams. You can have the perfect planned strategy, but if you don't have the guts to carry it out, to risk it all when the time comes, the idea is worthless.

Speaking about time, there is never a best time for entrepreneurship. It's just lazy people creating excuses to avoid doing something. If you believe in something, the time is always right. Once you decide, the world will get out of your way, and things will align to give you what you really want.

So choose, decide and just follow your guts. There are no excuses in entrepreneurship.

Check out my blog for more marketing insights and food reviews!

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